Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Freshman King of the Course

As spring rolls back the curtain of winter, the first signs of new life and change are becoming evident — such as spring sports getting underway. Included is the men’s golf team where change is the name of the game this year.

New faces for the Badgers are having the greatest impact upon the team’s success. This is evidenced by the addition of first-year head coach Jim Schuman, who leads the Badgers into a new era of men’s golf, trying to break the trend of disappointing showings that UW has had in golf the last few seasons.

Schuman comes in on a mission to emphasize on the fundamentals and to keep the game as simple as possible from a coaching standpoint.


“We focus more on what we’re doing day to day to get better,” Schuman said. “We’ve identified where we might be a little weak; we have identified what we are very, very good at. We need to make sure that day in, day out… we are focused on what we are going to improve on.”

As much of an impact as Schuman will have on the Badgers this year, another new addition looks to be the face that will change the shape of Badger golf.

Freshman Garret Jones, last year’s high school state champion in Wisconsin, has in the eight months since first arriving on campus already assumed the role as the Badger to beat on UW’s golf team. In his first year on campus, while most freshmen are still trying to adjust to the life of a college athlete and many athletes redshirt, Jones has stepped up to become the most dangerous Badger on the course.

“There was no need for Garrett to redshirt,” said Schuman of the talented freshman. “He was ready to go and ready to play.”

Jones explained that, for him, the support of his coaches made the transition much more manageable.

“It took some experience and some confidence for me to believe I could play out here and contribute right away,” he said. “The coaches have really helped me out.”

In the fall season, Jones was second in scoring average for the team, playing in three tournaments for Wisconsin and finishing with the team’s lowest score once. Playing in the fall gave Jones the opportunity to gain some of the experience of being a college athlete and helping him acclimate himself with his new situation.

“The fall season gave him a chance to get a little more comfortable about what happens here from an academic standpoint and a social standpoint,” Schuman said. “He just did a tremendous job in the off-season in the weight room. He is just benefiting from a lot of hard work.”

That hard work and improvement has paid serious dividends for Jones thus far. This season Jones has been the Badgers highest finisher in both tournaments, including a 16th place finish overall at the Big Red Classic and a fourth overall finish at the Emerald Coast Classic.

Though Jones is pleased with his performances so far, he still wants more and has is aiming to finish a tournament with his name atop the leaderboard.

“In the winter my game really improved, and I really believed I could win a tournament. Every time I go into a tournament I am shooting to win,” said Jones, who has more goals in his mind than just a tournament victory. “Earlier in the fall I mentioned to Coach Schuman that I wanted to be named Freshman of the Year in the Big Ten or pick up some Big Ten accolades. I have some lofty goals, but I know I can accomplish them if I just go out and play like I can.”

It is said that freshman in all sports need to learn more of how to handle the game mentally when they first arrive on campus. This has not at all been the case with Jones as he has employed a no-thoughts-no headaches and no-nonsense approach to the game so far.

“The main thing is just to score well. I just went out there not thinking a whole lot about how I am hitting it, but just trying to get the ball in the hole. The most important thing is to just take one shot at a time, to think that your next shot is your most important shot.”

Jones is still only scratching the surface of his ability this season and is only giving a taste of some of the things he can do in his time at UW. The sky is the limit for what Jones can accomplish — a fact that doesn’t escape him.

“I think everything is in place here for me to really excel and go to the places I want to go in golf,” Jones said. “Ideally, that would be to play professionally after college. I really feel like I have all the resources here at UW to do that.”

Coach Schuman believes that Jones has the ability to take his game to any level he puts his mind to and is thankful to have the opportunity to coach him. Though the team as a whole has started off a little slowly and Schuman wants to see the scoring averages go down a little bit, the season is young and there is still a lot of golf to be played.

“We have had two matches in Florida that really didn’t turn out score-wise the way we would’ve liked, but there were some good things for us happening in those two weeks,” Schuman said.

With Jones in their corner Badger golf has a very bright future and the upcoming season is just a taste of things to come.

“I think you are just seeing a little bit out of a lot of great things out of Garrett Jones,” Schumann predicted.

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